So, What Am I Really Made Of? (Besides A Llama Sweater)

Most of you are here because you appreciate my vulnerability and my honesty, even when it, quite frankly, paints me in a bad light. But part of what I think my platform is, part of the reason I think I’m here, is because I need for people to know that life is so messy and so unpredictable and so roller-coaster-y!

Just this week I had someone confide in me that she was nervous about her child because she has been sneaking things and lying. I was like, “Girl! That’s what kids do!” I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone look so relieved. And yes, I’m sure there are kids who don’t lie or cheat or sneak, but as a 4th grade teacher for almost 10 years? Yeah. Most kids do.

And that’s totally developmental and normal, and what do I think you should do about it? I think you should talk. Talk to your kid. Model. Show empathy and kindness. Show love and show logical consequences.

But…you guys. I still totally lose my mind sometimes! And I’m an educator, who is literally trained to work with children.

This school year has been a huge challenge for me. I’m gonna be honest and say it’s been the most challenging school year I’ve had. But that’s probably because I have blocked out several of them 🙂 But, really, it has been challenging. And not necessarily because of my students (I love them ALL, for real!) but because of adult relationships and growing pains and pressure and stress. I mean, and also my students, because some of them just need SO much of me.

Not because they’re “naughty.” Not because they’re “bad.” But because they have these extraordinary personalities or learning abilities that make them this giant puzzle that I have to constantly move around to try to piece together.

When I say I’m struggling, I’m saying that little things turn into big things really easily. I’m saying that I’m pulling back, pulling in, and wanting to stay home where I feel the most safe. I mean that my anxiety has cranked itself up a notch and when I’m anxious, it comes out as irritability and lack of patience, and I mean that I am sad.

I am sad.

But, you know, I’ve learned over these past almost 10 years that it is ok to be sad. And I am still putting my all into teaching and my class is a community, and that’s what matters most to me.

What I can’t get is that even though I KNOW this, there is always, always this voice in the back of my head telling me I’m a loser.

Today, I lost a follower on Um, You Guys. I spent $50 of my book money (which isn’t that much to begin with) on a contest that I shared like crazy and only 25 people entered, and I didn’t gain any new followers.

Right now, you’re thinking, oh, wahhhh, Christy. Not a big deal.

And it’s not!

But really, just about 10 minutes ago I had pretty much decided it’s time for me to shut down the Um, You Guys Facebook page. It’s been 2 years and although I think long and hard about what I post, and I love the comments I do get, I’m just not getting anywhere that I want to get. I still have less than 2,000 followers, and people don’t comment or share, and it takes up a LOT of my time. If there were a way I could even make a little money, or grab someone’s attention….I don’t know. Right now it feels very much like I’m not making the difference I hoped I would.

I wonder if my mom told me I was special too many times, because I always have this idea in the back of my head, that I will be successful at whatever I do. And I DO feel successful with my book, but, and you can laugh at me right now, I was honestly convinced that someone (read: Colleen Hoover) would share my book to her bajillion followers and I’d be on Good Morning America reaching ALL THE BEREAVED MOMS EVERYWHERE and then I’d start a foundation and lead retreats.

Yeah. For real.

But, instead, I can’t even figure out how to record my own audio book, although it’s not for lack of trying, and I’m quite often too tired to write, and my self-esteem is probably at an all-time low.

I think-and correct me if I’m wrong-that this breaking point is where we get divided. I think this is where people give up, or they decide to power through and give it their ALL to see if they can “make it.”

So, I guess it’s time to see what I’m really made of. Can I reach a little deeper down and grab all the strength I have left so I can keep going? Can I find a way to keep trying? Because, yo, the reality is that I’ve barely even been in this “business.” I have SO MUCH more time I need to put in. This shiznit doesn’t happen over night, ya know!

I think so, because I just had a really good idea of what I want to put on our Um, You Guys T-Shirts and Tote Bags. LOL.

We’ll see!  In the meantime, thank y’all so much for being here. For reading. For giving this girl from a tiny town in Wisconsin a chance.